Figures released by the TUC show how nearly 4 million are stuck in the precarious world of the 'gig-economy'.
According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), 3,820,000 people in Britain – 12% of the working population – are currently agency workers, employed under zero-hours contracts, or in “bogus self-employment.”
Workers in unstable or temporary jobs are often denied usual workplace rights such as maternity pay, trade union representation, and protections from unaccountable sackings.
The crisis is particularly acute in Wales, where over 14% of the workforce is in insecure jobs. It is followed closely by employment figures for the North West and London, where a total of more than 1 million people have precarious working conditions.
Commenting on the figures, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Millions are stuck in jobs with bosses who treat them like disposable labour. We need a new deal for working people so that every worker gets respect, and every job is a good job.”
Trade unionists are now calling for an end of zero-hours contracts and a guarantee of working hours by employers, as well as equal pay for agency workers to their in-house colleagues.
O’Grady also highlighted that the ‘self-employment’ in the gig economy is often used exploit workers, with many contractors denying them things like redundancy pay and family-friendly rights.
“The government must crack down on shady business models that exploit workers. No more zero-hour contracts. No more bogus self-employment. And no more using agency workers to undercut permanent staff.”
Trade unionists have in the past blamed the Tories for allowing the precarious work crisis to spiral out of control.
The TUC has called for a ‘New Deal’ and organised a demonstration in central London this Saturday, where tens of thousands are expected to march.
The end rally will count with the presence of several trade union leaders and no other than Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn.
Joana Ramiro is a reporter for Left Foot Forward. You can follow her on Twitter for all sorts of rants here.
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